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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 01 May 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Early Learning and Childcare, Commonwealth Games, Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Decision Time, Rape Crisis Centres and Prosecutions


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon. The first item of business this afternoon is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is Pastor Keith Short, who is senior pastor at St John’s church in Linlithgow.

Pastor Keith Short (St John’s Church, Linlithgow)

Presiding Officer, members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.

I want to start with what might seem at first glance a silly story. A father was babysitting his daughter. His peace was interrupted by a violent thunderstorm with flashes of lightning and the noise of his daughter moving about her bedroom. He rushed into her room to find her standing at the open window with her arms open wide. He ran over to her, picked her up and asked whether she was frightened. “It’s all right, Daddy,” she said. “It’s just God—he’s taking photographs of me.”

The idea that God, even if we believe that he exists, would be so interested in a little girl that he would take photographs of her might seem to us somewhat ridiculous. Yet I believe that that little girl understood something profound about the God that I have come to know and serve. As a Christian, I believe that every human being is created in the image of God and, as such, is of immense value and worth.

The Bible is full of radical challenges—to love one another and even to love our enemies. In John’s first letter, we are told that we cannot say that we love God, whom we cannot see, if we do not love people whom we can see. Let us be honest: that is a challenge for us all.

Last weekend, I was in Arbroath with 30 teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. The culture that my youth leaders had created was one in which everyone was valued and respected. New friendships were forged, barriers were broken down and fears were confronted. That weekend, they found hope, strength and faith. The conflicts that all teenagers experience just did not seem important any more. They had found a new perspective.

Shortly before he died, aged 63, Henri Nouwen wrote these words:

“How much longer will I live? ... I could live another thirty years! Do I want to live that long? Or do I hope to be united with Christ sooner? Only one thing seems clear to me. Every day should be well-lived. What a simple truth! Still, it is worth my attention. Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”

Thank you.